Op-Ed: It’s not partisan for the media to expose the GOP’s lies

A shattered glass frame at the U.S. Capitol.
Smashed glass was among the damage done by rioters inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

When the Jan. 6 committee hearings begin on Thursday night, you’ll notice one cable “news” station — Fox News — will not be broadcasting the proceedings. The network will stay with regular programming with Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, all of whom have denounced the committee’s investigation as illegitimate and a witch hunt.

For context, Fox News devoted more than 1,000 evening segments to the Benghazi issue.

At this point, why are we pretending Fox is anything but a propaganda vehicle for the GOP? Why is it allowed to be a credentialed news organization covering the White House or the U.S. Capitol? Would we grant such access to QAnon propagandists if they started their own digital platform? Of course not.


Donald Trump’s role in the attack on the U.S. Capitol was villainous. The right response should have been impeachment and his conviction in the Senate.

June 7, 2022

For reasons I cannot explain, there are those in the establishment media world who still cling to this notion that Democrats and Republicans represent two different-but-equal sides of the same coin. That it’s important for the American people to be presented with “both sides” as if they carry equal weight.

Axios reported this week that new leadership at CNN is “evaluating whether personalities and programming that grew polarizing during the Trump era can adapt to the network’s new priority to be less partisan” and if “talent cannot adjust to a less partisan tone and strategy, they could be ousted.”

They may not realize it, but news executives advancing this type of editorial edict are the GOP’s best friends. They are playing right into their hands and are acting as unwitting accomplices in the effort to end democracy as we know it.

It is not partisan to confront the dangerous litany of lies advanced every day by the Republican Party. It is not partisan to expose the embrace of extremism that is driving GOP “policymaking.” It is not partisan to challenge Republicans on their hypocrisy. It is not partisan to use adjectives like “dangerous,” “radical,” “extreme,” “liars,” “wrong,” “violent,” “racists” to describe leaders in the Republican Party. That’s what they are and quite frankly, they aren’t even trying to hide it.

Democracy is in a death spiral.

Since the 2020 election, at least 19 states under Republican rule have enacted new laws designed to disenfranchise Democratic voters.

Republicans have used partisan redistricting to divide minority voting power.


The GOP has run a cadre of candidates who believe in “The Big Lie” and are hoping to install them into positions of power to oversee elections in America.

The Republican National Committee is building an “army” to challenge, contest, discredit elections in Democratic-heavy areas.

This week, the American people will hear a minute-by-minute accounting of one of the darkest days in American history. But the truth about Jan. 6 is that it was just the beginning, not the end of the effort by the Republican Party to permanently hijack democracy.

Most historians will see the attack as one prong of a multifaceted coup attempt. But a revisionist history is also sure to appear, making the insurrectionists into patriots.

Jan. 2, 2022

Crucial to that effort is the media. Donald Trump has reportedly given instruction to his loyalists that he wants them aggressively and visibly defending him. When the hearing concludes, will we see Kevin McCarthy, Elise Stefanik, Mark Meadows, Ted Cruz, Jim Jordan, Jim Banks, et al. blanketing cable news and quoted in news articles?

Will the media present their false arguments with the same level of credibility as the Jan. 6 committee’s findings? Will the press allow democracy deniers to twist the narratives and challenge the truth of the evidence?

Or will the media do the responsible thing: Not allow their platforms to become launderers for the GOP’s lies. Refuse to quote the Republicans who in bad faith rejected the entire inquiry process. Refuse to book on their shows and segments voices who refer to the insurrectionists as “patriots.”


The entire Republican apparatus is betting that the media doesn’t have what Steve Bannon use to call “the stones” to abandon its false objectivity lens. He used to call it “our great advantage.”

The fact is every media institution has a choice to make. They can either adapt to the times and stop playing into the Republican Party’s hands, or they can continue with business as usual “both sides-ism” and watch democracy fall on their watch.

Kurt Bardella is contributing writer to Opinion. He is an advisor to the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and a former senior advisor for Republicans on the House Oversight Committee. @KurtBardella